My Favorite Readings in August: The Creative Process Illustrated, Cycling Across The USA & PhD After 40

Photo by

Some of the tweets shared in this post feature memorabilia. Hence this photo of Paris in the summer with a photo of 1944 (click to see 49 more)

This month marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris. The photo on the left is one of many others that the blog Golem 13 has published on June this year, morphing old photographs into the exact same photo – 70 years later. A great project.

This month, I’ve read many interesting things about innovation, academic education, creative inspiration, object conservation or patriotic dedication. The very last tweet wraps up the post nicely with another Paris-themed illustration, an animated one. Continue reading →

Asking students to reinvent their business school #DreamingAudencia

dreaming audencia banner

Audencia School of Management, located in Nantes, in Brittany, is one of France’s leading business schools. Today, the school is launching a very original event, inviting its students to co-create the business school of tomorrow. Called Dreaming Audencia (“Design Thinking and Collective Intelligence” it says on the facebook page), the 2-day event is meant to put the school’s students at the driving seat to reinvent their business school. I thought it was an interesting initiative, that’s why I share it in this blog post (I’ll also try to write a follow-up post once it will be over). Continue reading →

Ce qui a été dit à la 9ème Journée de Recherche sur le E-marketing (La Sorbonne)


L'université Paris I Panthéon La Sorbonne

Dans le cadre du master en Web-Marketing, j’ai assisté la semaine dernière à un colloque de recherche sur le E-marketing (précédemment Journée nantaise de Recherche sur le E-marketing), organisé par le professeur Jean-François Lemoine à La Sorbonne. A l’ordre du jour, dix présentations sur divers aspects du marketing sur internet, sélectionnés par un comité scientifique composé essentiellement de professeurs de gestion de grandes écoles et universités françaises. Voici quelques conclusions présentées dans ces papiers : Continue reading →

The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein, Penguin

Book cover

The book came out first in May 2008

As I walked around in the UWF Bookstore a couple of days ago, I fell on this book with the provocative title “The Dumbest Generation, How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (or, don’t trust anyone under 30)“. Labelled national bestseller and praised by renown newspapers all over the front & back covers, I wanted to find out more. Not only that I’m curious and that I want to discover what American academics think about my peers, but also because that stuff certainly applies to us Europeans ! By the way, the title “The Dumbest Generation” comes from Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain, published in 2000.

Public lecture

Mark Bauerlein at Augusta State University in November 2009 - Retrieved from on February 2010

The author is Mark Bauerlein, English professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives with his family. He was appointed director of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2004, which is a cultural federal agency promoting fine arts and litterature among Americans. He also writes for various newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other periodicals like The Yale Review or the Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA). He seems to be highly engaged in education and litterature research as I figured out while reading his book (see here, here or there).

The message that Bauerlein wants to deliver is the following : how come that the youth has so little knowledge while surrounded by so much information ? Based on a lot of survey & study results like Reading at Risk (which he oversaw while at the NEA), the statement basically says that young Americans “don’t know any more history or civics, economics or science, litterature or current events“. According to the book, Generation Y spends stunning $172 billion a year while saving only $39 billion… “marketers had better be ready for it“, it says – regretting that material possessions matter more than intellectual possessions.

“What do you think of student ignorance and apathy ? the interviewer asks the sophomore. “I dunno and I don’t care”

American universities still have the world’s best engineering programs, he says, but more than half of all the doctorates come from abroad, and it’s no secret that in a couple of decades knowledge will shift to the Asian continent. The XIXth century was European and the XXth century was American, the XXIst will be the Asian century. The knowledge deficits cover various disciplines like history, civics, science and fine arts according to Bauerlein. The 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement reported that 27% of first-year college students “never” attended an art exhibit, gallery, play, dance or other theater performance.


"The sole book event, qualifies more as a social happening than a reading trend" (about the Harry Potter phenomenon) - Picture retrieved from on February 2010

Generation Y is the first one to ever trumpet what Mark Bauerlein calls a-literacy : knowing how to read, but choosing not to ! It is proven that regular readers score better at knowledge tests and learn at a faster pace than those who don’t – it’s also called the “Matthew Effect” – and young Americans seem to disregard reading today. The question is : does this generation have other, maybe more valuable skills, like some kind of digital literacy or “E-literacy” ?

Some say that nowaday’s youth has a particular mental flexibility, a “general deployment capacity” acquired by multi-tasking and regular handling of information and technology. The author supports that we may be “mentally agile“, but also “culturally ignorant” ! I may not totally agree with that one, at least I think that he underestimates these skills – or overestimates the importance of academic knowledge…


Laptops (ond now the iPad) to replace books ? - Photo from an Apple Store retrieved from in February 2010

Is Apple‘s “decisive lifestyle choice” awkward or even damageable for uorselves ? They designed a whole new way of approaching information by making it more visual and pleasurable, and I think that’s not were the problem lies. As Bauerlein implies, the problem is the freedom of choice that we all have (and claim!). Hence, our web-based environment has become “a consumer habitat, not an educational one“, where peer-pressure and peer-judgement matters more than “vertical modeling” such as relations with teachers, parents, employers which is so crucial to gain maturity. The youth downplays tradition, history and experience in favor of short-sightened social interactions, which leads a kind of Peter Principle (“by proceeding in school and social circles without receiving correctives requisite to adult duties and citizenship. They reach a level of incompetence, hit a wall in college or the workplace, and never understand what happened“).

Mark Bauerlein concludes his book by refering to the youth movements of the 60’s and 70’s who “denounced the legacy of their elders […] but at least they knew them well“, which he calls informed rejection of the past. Today, we are facing an “uninformed rejection of the past, and then complete and unworried ignorance of it“. Not that he wants a generation of elite intellectuals, but he highlights the importance of lesser intellectuals whose general knowledge is so important to educate the coming generations – what kind of parents will we be in 20 years ? “If social life has no intellectual content, traditions wither and die“.

A very pleasant book which highlights a worrying evolution of a part of the youth. Sometimes a bit loaded in survey results but well-written and interesting. I definitely recommend it. If you want to find out more, visit .

Rhodes Scholarships unite academic and sporting excellence

On January 7th the University of Alabama won the Rose Bowl Game against the Texas Longhorns. During on of the numerous breaks, a focus on Alabama’s quarterback Greg McElroy precised that he “applied for Rhodes Scholarship”, I was curious and wanted to know what it was and my friend William told me it was “kind of a particular program for very bright students to go study abroad“. McElroy might go study in one of the world’s most prestigious academic programs at Oxford University in 2011… with a Southeastern Conference Championship ring on his finger.

The Rhodes House on the Oxford Campus. Even Einstein delivered lectures here (in 1931)

Rhodes Scholarship was created in 1902 after Cecil John Rhodes’ death. His will was to “improve the world through the diffusion of leaders motivated to serve their contemporaries” by bringing bright students from all over the world to study at Oxford. Nowadays, about 80 students are granted Rhodes and go to the famous English university to study various subjects like Medicine, Politics, History, Economics, Philosophy etc. (see the list of 2009’s 32 American Rhodes scholar) According to Cecil Rhodes, who graduated from Oxford before gonig to South Africa where he founded the mining company De Beers, the university offers an optimal environment to learn and become a leader (“Wherever you turn your eye—except in science—an Oxford man is at the top of the tree“). The following is a screen capture of the Rhodes Scholarship’s current website which list general skills that a Rhodes applicant is supposed to have :

Retrieved from on January 28th

In order to get there, quarterback McElroy not only has to be a good sportsman, but he’ll also have to write an essay and pass quizzes on current events, as well as having the full support of his university (written statements, references, transcripts etc.). One of the major steps however is the interview with Oxford Alumni and former Rhodes Scholars to weigh up the student’s motivation, integrity and his real engagement. According to, the Marketing student had only one single “B” in his college years, which proves the applicant’s academic excellence.

What Alabama’s McElroy would like to achieve, Florida State’s Myron Rolle did it in 2009 : he studied Medical Anthropology. When asked what his goals are (beside being a first pick in the NFL draft), he answers that he wants to attend medical school in order to become a neurosurgeon and help the needy in underdeveloped countries like the Bahamas. This article is from 2009, and I just watched an interview from the very same Myron Rolle on ESPN Sports Center – his answer sounds as convincing as a year ago. His next goal, however, is to catch the NFL scouts’ attention at the SeniorBowl in Mobile (a 60 miles away from Pensacola) this week-end.

And because I’m a passionate cyclist, I can’t get around a last example of a Rhodes Scholar : Rosara Joseph from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. On the road bike, she is a silver-medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games ; on the mountain bike she finished 9th of Beijing’s 2008 Olympic XC-race. At Oxford, she achieved a Bachelor of Civil Law and is currently preparing her PhD to become a lawyer.

Rosara Joseph riding a criterium for the NZ National road cycling team during the 2007 Bay Classic Series - Retrieved from Wikipedia on January 28th


Réforme des programmes ESSCA et classement des Ecoles de commerce

Le traité de Bologne s’impose aujourd’hui à 46 pays dans le monde, et les écoles de commerce doivent aussi s’adapter à ce schéma Bachelor/Master/Doctorat uniformisé, également pour s’adapter au évolution du marché de la formation et aux attentes des recruteurs.

Plus de 5000 candidats à l'ESSCA en 2009

Des commentaires sur le(s) classement(s) actuels de l’ESSCA

Rang 2010
Note 2010 Classe-
ment 2009
1er niveau d’entrée
1 HEC Jouy-en-Josas 1 000 1 = Prépa
2 ESSEC Cergy-Pontoise 843 2 = Prépa
3 ESCP Europe, Paris 800 3 = Prépa
4 EM Lyon 763 4 = Prépa
5 EDHEC Lille, Nice 711 5 = Prépa
6 Audencia Nantes 515 6 = Prépa
7 ESC Grenoble 497 6 – 1 Prépa
8 Sup de co Reims 446 8 = Prépa
8 Rouen Business School 445 10 + 2 Prépa
8 IESEG Lille, Paris 444 12 + 4 Bac
11 Euromed Management Marseille 434 8 – 3 Prépa
12 ESC Toulouse 399 11 – 1 Prépa
13 ESC Bordeaux 390 13 = Prépa
14 EM Strasbourg 366 24 + 10 Prépa
15 ESC Lille, Paris 353 14 – 1 Prépa
16 CERAM Sophia-Antipolis, Paris 340 17 + 1 Prépa
17 ESC Rennes 331 22 + 5 Prépa
18 ESSCA Angers, Paris 325 15 – 3 Bac
18 ESG Paris 324 19 + 1 Bac
20 ESC Tours, Poitiers 316 15 – 5 Prépa

source : L’ (classement 2010)

Le dernier classement L’Exress/L’Etudiant positionne l’école de commerce en 18ème position des écoles de commerce françaises nos amis lillois de l’Iéseg se trouvant en 8ème position. Ce classement a été assez remarque parmi les étudiants (un peu moins que le LipDub de l’école de commerce), nous nous demandons notamment ce qui a pu causer cette chute, un étudiant présent cet après-midi ayant même demandé si cela était vécu comme “un constat d’échec” par l’école. Plusieurs choses ont été dites pour relativiser ces résultats :

  • La concurrence s’est considérablement intensifiée entre les écoles de commerce, notamment post-bac, ces dernières années. Un bon exemple est la fusion-transformation de l’ESC Le Havre et Sup Europe C.E.S.E.C. (écoles post-prépa), qui forment aujourd’hui l’EM Normandie (école post-bac).
  • Les critères de classement sont changeants et leur justification n’est pas toujours claire. On voit par exemple que le critère Publications/Recherche a pris du poids et que l’accréditation EPAS n’est pas prise en compte dans ce classement, alors que cette accréditation est un gage incontestable de qualité académique. De plus, l’ESSCA se justifie en indiquant privilégier la recherche “pédagogique” à la recherche “théorique”.
  • Boston University, "meilleure" université partenaire de l'ESSCA

  • Concernant l’importance accordée aux universités partenaires des écoles, il est important de préciser que ces partenariats impliquent des contreparties financières, et qu’il y a donc un arbitrage à réaliser entre la qualité (offrir moins de places dans de très bonnes universités, uniquement aux meilleurs de promo) et la quantité des universités partenaires (offrir un nombre élevé de places à l’international à une grande partie des étudiants d’une promotion).
  • Il convient finalement de rappeler que l’ESSCA reste l’école post-bac préférée des recruteurs. C’est objectivement un bon indicateur de la valeur des diplômés de l’ESSCA sur le marché du travail.

Voici en quelques points ce qui a été dit ce midi concernant ces points. Je vous invite cordialement à réagir à cet article, surtout si vous avez des précisions à ajouter ou des points à clarifier !